My VBAC birth story:

(14 posts)(14 voices)
  1. So here it goes (I tried to cut the pollyanna cr*p out - I quite honestly am somewhat sleep deprived and don't have the mental energy to make this "nicer" - so, it is what it is....and very long!):

    I’d been contracting pretty regularly since Wednesday. By the following Tuesday, I was starting to bleed a bit with contractions and so late that night, I decided to err on the side of caution and go in to the hospital.

    The midwife (MW) on call did not seem very pleased to see me – she mentioned something about going to see her son at college the next day. I guess the timing was inconvenient. Anyway, she did an exam and said I was only 2cm so I walked the halls for a bit (till 3am), at her suggestion. I came back and she said I was still at 2cm. A nurse suggested I take Nubain to take the edge off the contrax and to get a little sleep.

    At 7am, the MW and I had the mother of all arguments. I told the MW I was concerned why my contrax were so painful yet I was not dilating and they were still not coming faster than 8 minutes apart…I said “Is there anything I can take besides an epidural?”, and she just lost it. Went on a rant about how childbirth was supposed to be painful, maybe if I had waited longer to come in (um, I was 12 days overdue FFS!) I wouldn’t be in this predicament, made some snide comment about never having heard of my doula, and asked if I had ever taken a childbirth class (to which the answer was yes, BTW). Literally, she just lost it. And this woman hadn’t even labored with me at all…she gave me two internals, ordered me some Nubain a few hours after my arrival, and probably spent a total of ½ hour with me the whole time from beginning to end…she in fact told me there was a room she was sleeping in at the hospital. So where all her hostility came from, I have NO IDEA. However, I also lost it. That past week had been terrifying for me. I knew I wanted a VBAC, but was getting very concerned about the 6 days of contrax/”prodromal labor” and what effect that might have on my uterine scar…not to mention I was so far overdue and knew in 2 days I HAD to have a c-section. I waivered between feeling like attempting a VBAC was the right thing, to feeling it was selfish and jeopardizing the health of the baby. So I was going to be damned if this woman was going to yell at me for no apparent reason when I finally decided to go to the hospital and try for my VBAC. I yelled back and told her I in fact did not “live under a rock” and so, I had in fact “heard” childbirth was pain, and in not so polite words told her I thought it was totally appalling the way she spoke to me and that I had no idea what her problem was. The attending nurse and my husband just looked dumbfounded at the exchange that just took place (the nurse later said she felt my MW was totally out of line). Anyhow, the MW then more or less backed down and became apologetic. She also left and called a new midwife to take over. While waiting for the new MW, I cried in the bathroom hysterically. I was now more convinced than ever this VBAC would not happen (as this MW pretty much insinuated I was the dumbest patient she had ever come across) and that there was way too much negative energy surrounding this thing to make it happen anymore. My trust level was more or less at a big, fat zero.

    Donna, the new MW showed up with a better attitude and said “Wow, you are at 4cm” and then broke my water (without warning me, I might add). I didn’t care - what a relief. For some reason, her breaking my water felt like such a much needed emotional release and also relieved much of the pain I had been feeling walking all that night (I still have no idea why).

    My doula then came and I started to feel better about the way things were happening. Contractions started but never came anymore than 8 minutes apart. Nipple stim did help. Then the MW told me to try the nipple stim in the shower…so DH and my doula took turns aiming the shower head on my boobs while I did this nipple stim…it was very odd doing this for so long as the contrax were very painful and therefore dreaded…and yet here I was doing something to make them come stronger and more frequently. After a few hours of this, and doing some squats on the birthing ball, the contractions were unbearable (to me). My MW got pretty hardcore on me and said I would end up with a c-section if I got an epi b/c my contractipns were not strong enough to get me to 10cm. After going back and forth I just finally said “I cannot do this without an epidural. I want it now.”. Everyone knew I meant business and so that was that. The midwife looked as though it was the end of the world. When she checked me at this point, I was 6cm, BTW.

    So, got the epi which was much needed relief as we’d been in the hospital for maybe 14 hours now dealing with contrax. My doula, thank God, had the balls to stand up to my MW (who can be intimidating) and said “I’d really appreciate if you could ask if she could have Pitocin. I know some doctors will give VBAC patients a very tiny amount and she IS at 6cm already”. The MW looked unhopeful, but spoke to the doctor. Miraculously, he decided with my “good looking pelvis” and progress (6cm, baby was at +1 station), I could have the Pitcocin. Apparently, he hadn’t okayed Pit in 2 years for a VBAC!

    In just a couple of hours I went from 6cm to 9.5cm. My MW knew I panicked easily and so, without me knowing, lowered my epi and heightened my Pit (she told me this the next day - if I knew happened at the time I would have freaked and demanded she lower the Pit and heighten the epidural again)…and so back came the contrax and my need to get that baby OUT. I was stuck at 9.5cm with an anterior lip, so the MW had me do a practice push to get rid of the lip…and it worked: lip gone so it was time to really push.

    Pushing was by far the most terrifying experience of my life. I literally kept saying to my husband: This is it, I am never doing this again. (In fact, I’ll be honest. I did not enjoy one bit of the labor process. I did not find it cathartic or any of that ridiculus cr*p I had conjured up in my mind. It terrified me and I still to this minute cannot fathom that this is how most people are born.) Anyhow, I pushed for what seemed like ages (really only 1.25 hours). My MW told me to push like I had to make a bowel movement…and it quite honestly felt very ineffective (I also have a lovely hemorrhoid from h*ll now too). Towards the end, I just started losing it. Random nurses who had been in during the original shift in which I was first admitted came back for their next days’ work and would just start nonchalantly talking to me - to which I usually just flat ignored them or yelled “Go away!”. At one point, the attending nurse asked everyone to clear the room (after I yelled at my doula to not touch me anymore - she admittedly looked kind of hurt, but she's a doula for christ's sake) so she could “talk” to me. She was a little odd – very granola-ish. Said to me “You have tried so hard to get this VBAC, you really want to try and have some grace here”. GRACE??? I thought she was going to impart on me some of her super-crunchy mother earth secrets to pushing her 4 children out…not some totally foreign concept of GRACE (!) at this stage. I just looked at her and said, exasperated “I have no idea what that is and I am having another contraction so please get them back in the room so I can push”. It still irks me she said that to be honest. What the h*ll was I doing that was so much more ungraceful then the next uptight mother going through a vaginal birth for the first time?

    Anyhow, I’ll wrap it up. It finally occurred to me that this could go on for hours more…and that although it did not feel to ME that pushing like you were constipated was effective, it was the only direction I had been given and so I had better just do it to the best of my ability. For the next 15 minutes, that is more or less what I did. Lo and behold, someone said something about a head and I let out the mother of all moans and pushed until I thought I would die. Everyone afterwards said they thought I would need a few more pushes to get the body out but instead, she literally flew out in one push. My doula started crying, my husband was like “Holy sh*t, there’s our daughter!”, and my midwife was saying “You did it!”. Despite everyone else’s reactions, I was in complete and total shock. After 24 hours of active labor I think I had forgotten I was doing this for a baby. I just started at Madelyn for ages, until someone put her on my stomach…even then, I could not believe this person just came out of me. Once I started to really snap out of it, I heard the dreaded “Oh, it looks like she tore”. So for the next hour they stitched me up (3, 2nd degree tears) while DH held Madelyn near me. I was exhausted by the time I finally got to be alone with them both. I really could not comprehend what had just happened until the next morning. And the next morning: I swear it was something out of a Disney movie…the sun was streaming into my room, I could WALK, breastfeeding was a breeze – I think I even saw some cartoon bluebirds outside our window. I had not one person I encountered during my post-partum stay rub me the wrong way (which is unusual). I was on the mother of all highs.

    So, here’s my take: Despite achieving my goal and having a great recovery so far...I don’t think I will EVER do that again (I am hoping I stay satisfied with 2 children - fingers crossed). I found the process of childbirth terrifying (have I mentioned that enough?). BUT, one thing I have to mention: the recovery has been unbelievable. When I had DD#1, I was in horrible pain. Whenever she slept, I gladly went off in my room and slept. The physical pain was really hard for me to deal with. This time, I feel I am now allowed to just enjoy DD. I am doing things I never thought I would do – like co-sleeping. I also can’t bear to let her sleep alone…I am enjoying her in ways I unfortunately did not let myself enjoy my first (which in many aspects is not even related to the VBAC). We just cuddle up all the time, and I guess as a 2nd time parent I am really appreciating these first few days much more than I did with my 1st. Again, it's a fuzzy line in terms of how much of this is due to the VBAC and how much of it is due to the experience of having already had a newborn. I do know the VBAC helped a lot though.

    Anyhow, thank you again for all the support and cyber-cheering. I can’t say I did a great job at childbirth – but I am still very grateful I got to do it all the same and am reaping the benefits of a much easier recovery.

  2. All I can say is wow....been following your story.

    Congratulations again on your little one!

  3. wowza... i felt all your emotions just reading that!



  4. OMG! You are too funny! I commend you on your VBAC despite the many, many (did I say many?) obstacles that you encountered. You are a strong, determined woman authough I'm sure by the 24th hour of labor you didn't feel very strong! I loved your "spin" on the experience!



  5. What a great story!!!! So honest and real. I hope you've made a hard copy of it...


  6. I am awed by your determination and strength! I kept telling your story to my friend, that is absolutely nothing ordinary!

    Congratulations! Enjoy your beautiful Madelyn!


  7. thank you thank you thank you. I appreciate your insight and honesty. I am asking around for referrals to vbac friendly docs and I found a doula in the area (I didnt find one last time whcih ended in the 'c'). Thanks very much.


  8. First, congratulations!! I am so glad she is finally here. I cannot believe how overdue you were... yikes.

    And, VBAC or not, it sounds like a very typical birth to me. You did great. And yes, the mother of all highs... that is exactly how I would describe it. Well, at least after my first was born... the euphoria lasted all night long. My second was a bit more difficult so I wasn't nearly as euphoric, but it is definitely a high.

    Congrats again!

  9. I gotta say that after reading that, I'd never want to get in your way when you have your mind set on something! FWIW~ you survived your first vaginal birth and that alone means you were successful. So glad to hear your recovery is easy. Nice to be able to run up the stairs not long after a baby is born. I will say though that it took me a long time to feel "normal" down there. Not like I was in pain, just felt different for quite some time. I think that is pretty typical after vaginal birth with tearing! Don't be alarrmed if you are the same.

    Again, so nice to share this part of your journey. I am sure the others hoping for VBAC are so appreciative of your account of things.


  10. Oh my gosh, I just stumbled upon this!

    I think I laughed and cried several different times!


  11. Holy cow, you did it! I hadn't heard and am just delighted. Your comment about *grace* just about did me in. Who the F is graceful while giving birth?! I'm impressed with your strength in sticking to what you knew you wanted despite your medical professional's lack of support. Thanks for posting your story.

  12. hoping, that is quite the story- glad you both came out of it well.

    my big burning curiosity- did you in fact play the cd with all the whispered reminders of how your vagina was pink and strong and womanly? i thought of that during my recent labor- when i was sweaty and dirty and gross- and thought BWAHHAAAHHAAAA!!


  13. You have a great sense of humor and are really very talented in the way that you write.

    You must be really funny.

    I\'m glad the baby is here and you aren't stapled shut.

    I\'m TERRIFIED of another cbirth but also terrified of VBAC. Why isn't there a 3rd choice?

    Good job and GREAT story!

  14. Hi there

    All I can say is thank God I had an epidural!!! Epidurals are the way to go if they work!!


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